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Reading Group ActivitiesAs part of your reading group, try one or more ofthese bookish activities:– A book topple– A book swap– Book dating– Book crossing
Book ToppleA book topple uses books like dominos. You line themup on their ends in some kind of pattern, knock thefirst one over and watch them fall, well, like dominos.To make it work you’ll need lots of hardback booksfrom the library, plenty of time to set up, a large flatsurface to put them on, some logical and creativeminds to plan the positioning and some steady handsto arrange them.And a video camera to record the event for posterity.
If you’re really clever you can make them fall into apretty pattern.Here’s a recent example from Barnsley library:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx4SC6EMbPcNot bad, eh?
Book swapA Book Swap pretty much does what it says on the tin.Everyone at the party should bring a book and swapit with someone else.You could bring books that you love but no longer wantto keep or bring one of those books that you boughtand, let’s face it, are never going to get round toreading.
There are several ways you could do your book swap.Here are just a few options:• Lay them out on a table and rummage for one youfancy jumble-stylee.• Pitch your books to the audience as if at an auctionand present to the highest bidder (or the person whogives the best reason for needing the book).• Stalk the person who has the book you want andthen try to persuade them that they really need yourbook.• Stalk the person you fancy and persuade them thatyou really need their book and that you’d love tomeet them for coffee to discuss it afterwards.
Book datingFor this you could adapt any number of tried andtested dating formats such as:• Take me out (in which 30 young people ply theirlibrary books to one reader)• Blind date (in which one reader asks questions ofthree potential books and their owners to decidewhich one to take home with him/her)• Speed dating (in which participants move around theroom interviewing prospective books and theirowners)
Take me outFor this dating game, follow (loosely!) the format of thegame show.One person stands at the front and talks about his orher reading habits and preferences, whilst everyoneelse stands with their chosen library book.Book givers can take themselves out of the game if theydon’t think their book is appropriate to thecontestant (You like to eat pizza while you’rereading? No way!)
When there are 5 or 10 books left, the contestant getsto ask some questions of the book givers and thenselects which book he or she is going to take outfrom the library.
Blind dateBlind Date was a long-running TV dating show in whichone man or woman asked three questions of threeunseen potential dates who were hiding behind thescreen. From their answers, he or she chosesomeone to go on a date with.To apply the concept to books simply do the following:
Have three young people bring along a favourite book(or choose one from the library) and put them inbrown envelopes.Have one person be the book chooser who asks threequestions of each book holder. Questions like:• I like a book that keeps me guessing until the end.How will your book hold my interest?• I like an element of risk in my books. Will your bookleave me hanging from a cliff?• I want a book that will make me cry. How will yourbook tug at my heartstrings?
When the questions have all been asked, the bookchooser makes his or her selection and the identityof the chosen book will be revealed.In the real Blind Date, a camera crew then followed thecouple on their date and they came back thefollowing week to tell the viewers how it went. Itmight be a bit much to film the contestant reading inthe bath but you could ask him or her to make ashort video diary to bring back to your group.
Speed datingIn a speed dating event, participants sit at either side ofa long table and, after a set time (say 2-3 minutes)they move clockwise around the table to size up thenext person.Participants have a score sheet and rate potential datesout of 10 and make notes about their preferences.At the end of the event, organisers review the scoresheets and let participants know about theirpotential matches.Brutal but efficient.
With book dating, instead of representingyourself, you’ll be representing a book that you’veenjoyedDuring your 2-3 minute chats, you can discuss therelative merits of the books on offer and jot downyour scores on your score sheet.At the end of the event, the organisers will review thesheets and look for potential matches.In order for it to work, two people would have to scoreeach others’ books highly and therefore be able toswap books.It might be helpful to have contingency plans for whenthis doesn’t work out neatly!
Book crossingYou can spread the word about reading by taking partin Book Crossing. Free some old books into the wildby registering them on the Book Crossing websiteand then leaving them in interesting places aroundyour local community.For more on Book Crossing see:http://www.bookcrossing.com